Friday, 9 January 2009

You don't have to be an expert - that'll just annoy you even more.

There are a few things that really shit me about most science fiction, and that includes the new series of Doctor Who. I'm not talking about the big things, like having force fields or faster than light travel. I mean the easy bits of physics (and other sciences), the little bits of detail that just plain aren't necessary to break:
  • "200%": the point to 100%, you see, is that it's ALL. As in, EVERYTHING. If it's possible to ever "Go to 200%!" or record a reading on anything over 100%, then you haven't built your equipment properly.
  • "An unknown element!": No, actually, we know all of them. All the stable ones, anyway (we can create elements that have a half life shorter than the human mind is any good at comprehending). Unless they get suddenly stable at really BIG atomic numbers (which I believe has been suggested), you're not going to be meeting any new ones. Previously unknown compounds, well, that's easy.
  • Sound effects in space. I mean, come ON! Sound requires a medium through which to travel. Space has, roughly, an atom per cubic metre. So, no sound.
  • Explosions in space. There is a reason why you don't get fires in zero gravity, I believe - something to do with needing a gravity gradient. However: you don't get a fire if the reactants aren't mixed and in close proximity, either. How long is that going to last, in a vacuum?
  • Spaceships sharing a common 'down' and having the same orientation as each other when they meet. Hello? Zero gravity? What's your reference point?
  • Making up strange radiation or "particles". Isn't there enough weird physics in the world already? And how do you even get new types of radiation? Apart from changing the frequency?
  • Casually passing off psychic powers while everything else has an explanation. No, sorry, you can't slip that past while nobody's looking. Try again.
  • Nobody ever needs to go to the toilet onboard the TARDIS. Okay, that's just picky.
Any other ones you can think of?

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

This is why Clarkson patronises us.

Due to a massive corporate sponsorship deal, tax breaks for non-profit service organisations, and an 18,000km lifecycle, my new employer actually makes a profit on using XR6 Falcons as company cars.

Now, I'm pretty sure they'd make a profit on using base-model Falcons as company cars as well, but what fun would that be?

What this means, however, is that for one week out of every three, I have an XR6 ute in my driveway. Strictly, it need hardly be said, for business purposes only.

There's just one problem.

It may be ungrateful, rude and possibly even sacrilegious to say this, but:

I don't think it's a very good car.

There is no feel from the steering whatsoever. The styling makes it really difficult to work out where the corners are. Visibility from the cabin is horribly compromised, particularly over your right shoulder, and through the left A-pillar. The throttle pedal is soft and imprecise. The suspension is crude (I mean, it has the 1-tonne suspension, which means
leaf-springs. Haven't they been phasing those out of bargain-basement trucks?). The gearbox is slow to react and slow to shift.

I actually prefer the way my partner's 1994 Commodore wagon drives, to the way this brand new sports-model Falcon ute drives.

Talk about a let-down.

Oh yes, and one more thing: It has the world's most stupid tray cover. It's rubberised fabric, and it's held down not by the good old-fashioned elastic rope around hooks, or even by clips. It's held on by what I can only describe as a giant zip-lock bag arrangement. There's a plastic lip around the edge of the cover which clips over a lip on the edge of the tray. It's very easy to not completely close it, and it's a fearful pain in the arse to get on. Who the hell thought that would be a good idea?

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